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Subject: Santorini review, unbiased rss

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kos blaat
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My copy shows Roxley + Spinmaster logos.

In short:

Imagine a world in creation where you and other gods (from the greek pantheon) manipulate humans to get your goals done. You and your opponent get a god with special god powers that are well explained, with examples on how to play them. Your god background story fits nicely to memorize how to beat the crap out of your opponent, all for becoming the ruler of heaven and earth! Every game feels fresh and new, with another god to read upon and while playing you learned some great stories from mythology, and the island really stands out, is easily rotatable so you can gloat and peek from every angle you wish! You can play this for the rest of your life!

Santorini is not that game.

More specifically, the R/SM version is not. Let's review it point by point:

First of all the game is very hard to get. I ordered from overseas from the US, with customs and shipping about $65 (€55+).
Second, there are 2 versions in circulation, (1) being the Roxley/Spinmaster and (2) the other being the "original" (kickstarter) version. Of course the price of the original is much higher, and it is even harder to get hold of a copy. The spinmaster was even sold out completely in Europe so I ordered from US, and got it about 3 weeks after paying.

OK, unwrapping the board this is what you get:

- 3 pairs of very cute figurines. Each pair is a male and a female, both cute. Very cute, and not erotic or otherwise offensive.

- 2 manuals one in french one in american english. First page is very well done, after reading once and trying it out (later), it's immediately clear how it works: must move, then must smash a building block onto island square.

That was the good part. What follows is, to put diplomatically, not so good.
Roxley/Spinmaster were obviously too eager to push this product onto unsuspecting consumers. Yes to pump up marketing machine, without any love for board games in any respect. I suspect R/SM employees despise board gamers, socializing with family and in their dark homes watch netflix until retirement, I cannot explain their behaviour otherwise.

- 1 board and setup thing of plastic. There is only one way to click them together, so 3 ways to mess up. No pointers just trial and error, that would be friendly and considerate.

- The ocean board is totally missing: while the game BEGS to be rotated during gameplay because of the 3D aspect, the spinmaster version makers did not care for you in that respect, so all that remains is rotating the plastic on the table (in our case a wooden table top). If R/SM had added a ocean board players could move the thing more smoothly, but no that would show consideration.

- The 5x5 surface where you are supposed to battle out your duel has NO inlays, it is completely flat, and shows - in print - some remains of ruins of former civ city; these are to be ignored and do not hinder movement. Not that spinmaster rules even care to mention that, it did cause some head scratches for us, having visited old dead towns in greece and having to climb over partly collapsed walls IRL. So, ignore those and be careful not to slide off your houses in santorini.

- The board should have two sides, one for 2 player (smaller) and 1 for 3-4 player. The board squares should have indentations to keep the growing towers from sliding off.

- the plastic bags after opening the game first time, were already dented and scratched by the house pieces that were inside them. No fault of the shipper, but the ziplock bags are too small to comforably tuck away the pieces. So at least get yourself another ziplock bag (big size!) to use.

- Rules say: The younger player is supposed to place first his two figurines on a square, after that the older player places. This makes each game start out the same. Also, each square being identical there is nothing to indicate what is a good initial move. Compared to something like catan, at least give some idea what a sensible move would be and also have players place one figurine in turn.

- R/SM rulebook only gives the bare-bones mechanic for each god, without any fluff. Modern board game rulebooks are usually better than that. R/SM did not care for a nice story for each god. If they did it would make it a GREAT game. Now it's just what it is, a bland mesh of plastic.
It's also obvious from the fact that the cover cartboard is of too weak a quality to stand the test of time. Even board game videos show the game begs for some "background story": each shows that topping a building with a blue dome is so that a figurine will not be able to stand on a dome and will fall off.

- R/SM manual does not bother to explain with examples how each god works. Page 1 is excellent, but it stops right there. The manual should also warn against certain combinations of gods.

While I respect the original creator has spent 10 years refining the game, Roxley has shamelessly mutated his baby.

I'm not fanatic or anything but if I pay for a game with gods I expect to be immersed in god lore and it doesn't have to be consistent with any greek mythology or anything but some story to explain away the mechanic would be expected. It's a good way to educate and illuminate consumers on the epic stories of the old gods, but Roxley cares nothing for that.

So instead of theme, if anything shines through, it's loveless money making, fueled by unrelenting marketing techniques. I will never buy anything from Roxley nor from Spinmaster, ever, again.

An explanation of why R/SM did not add anything useful to Santorini might because of the creepy domination of Christianity in the US, and the publisher was afraid to get lawsuits from religious extremist christians; and we Europeans have put religion back where it belongs, so my criticism about publisher being too coward to put some lore may be a cultural thing. Other points are inexcusable and remain however.

As always, caveat emptor, don't believe the hype by video reviewers from yt, they only play games once, shoot a video and move on. You are interested if you would like this game long time and many plays.

Summary:
- the R/SM version is good enough for Americans, they are used to trash like this and don't know any better.
- for Europe/Rest of the world: either pay gold for the Roxley/KS version, or don't bother and move on.
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Derek M
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Nope, no bias there!
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Entrecruzado
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A bit harsh.

I have the KS edition.

robot
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Mike Beiter
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Wow... just... wow... shake
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Ken Thibodeau
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What exactly do you expect from writing a "unbiased review" like this?
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David E
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Okay, Santorini is a popular game with a lot of love from its fans, so you're going to get a lot of flak for this review. I happen to love Santorini, but I also appreciate negative reviews, even of things I love. So I'm going to respond to your review as fairly as I can.

First, I have the Kickstarter edition, which evidently was much better produced than the Spinmaster version. I can't speak to the quality of the components in the latter. But most of your review was about the poor component quality, and frankly, for a budget version of the game (yes, I understand it was pretty expensive for you to get it shipped to you, but that's just the reality of international shipping and not the game manufacturer's fault), you shouldn't expect exceptional quality. It's plastic and cardboard.

What makes Santorini a great game is not the bling and awesomeness of its art and minis, it's the game. And frankly, you said nothing about the game play or whether you even played it.

So, this wasn't a review of the game, it was a review of the production quality of the game. Which certainly can be part of a game review, but... I don't understand how much detail you were expecting in terms of "lore." The theme of the game is a contest between various Greek gods and heroes, but what did you want in the rulebook, Bullfinch's Mythology? I would hope, if I gave this to my kids, that if they were intrigued by the mythological characters they'd go find a book to read more about them.

Finally, your last comment:

Quote:
An explanation of why R/SM did not add anything useful to Santorini might because of the creepy domination of Christianity in the US, and the publisher was afraid to get lawsuits from religious extremist christians; and we Europeans have put religion back where it belongs, so my criticism about publisher being too coward to put some lore may be a cultural thing. Other points are inexcusable and remain however.


Dude, I don't know how you think things work in America, but "religious extremist Christians" can't sue someone for publishing a game about Greek gods. (Well, they could try - you can sue anyone for anything - but no lawyer would take such a ridiculous case.) And frankly, even the most extremist Christians have bigger fish to fry. Like Harry Potter. whistle

Seriously, there are boardgames about Cthulhu, about demons, about serial killers, and games absolutely calculated to offend religious sensibilities. And you think they left out a complete text on Greek mythology in this game because they were afraid of offending Christians?
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Paul Saxberg
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Kos, I became curious after you posted this without apparently taking the time to read my response to your other comment, so I went to see what other games you didn't like and why... after all, one person's trash is another person's treasure, right?

I have to say I'm pleased to see you think a Roxley title belongs in the same category as Agricola, Azul, Castles of Burgundy, Food Chain Magnate, Pandemic: Legacy, Tak, and Through The Ages. (Your comment about NMBR 9 was particularly informative, I thought.)

Thank you for the vote of confidence! We'll try to keep up the good work.

Have fun playing! thumbsup
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chearns
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The Spinmaster edition is not equal in terms of quality to the Roxley edition. I don't think anyone would dispute that. It is enough of a difference (and I own enough games that I love already), that I will wait for Roxley to release another edition down the road before I purchase.

However, I don't think Spinmaster went the route they did in order to punish the people who play the game. They did it to compete with Hasbro on shelves. Hasbro has a very low sticker price for their mass-market games and they manage that by making games and components with the flimsiest of materials (amongst other cut corners in terms of human rights no doubt).

It's a choice. It's not one that will get me to buy the game, but it is a legitimate choice. I won't buy their copy of Hanabi either (only the German deluxe was good enough for me).

I suspect that the problem isn't that the game is insulting to people who purchase it, the problem is that you aren't the target audience for that edition.

That being said, many of your complaints that are not about production quality but about design decisions that apply to all editions of the game (including pre-Roxley), so I suspect that this game wasn't for you at all.
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Greg Darcy
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mind_ranger wrote:
Kos, I became curious after you posted this without apparently taking the time to read my response to your other comment, so I went to see what other games you didn't like and why... after all, one person's trash is another person's treasure, right?

I have to say I'm pleased to see you think a Roxley title belongs in the same category as Agricola, Azul, Castles of Burgundy, Food Chain Magnate, Pandemic: Legacy, Tak, and Through The Ages. (Your comment about NMBR 9 was particularly informative, I thought.)

Thank you for the vote of confidence! We'll try to keep up the good work.

Have fun playing! thumbsup

Actually no he doesn't. He rates your game a 3 He rates those others a 1. For some reason best known to the OP, He still wants to play Agricola despite rating it "You won't catch me dead playing this game...broken"
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Arjun Sukumaran
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kosterix wrote:
I suspect R/SM employees despise board gamers, socializing with family and in their dark homes watch netflix until retirement, I cannot explain their behaviour otherwise.


I mean, whatever else you might think of the rest of that 'review', this is a phenomenal sentence.

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Gavan Brown
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alpha1156 wrote:
kosterix wrote:
I suspect R/SM employees despise board gamers, socializing with family and in their dark homes watch netflix until retirement, I cannot explain their behaviour otherwise.


I mean, whatever else you might think of the rest of that 'review', this is a phenomenal sentence.



I love it, it's amazing.

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Olli Juhala
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Lies, damn lies and unbiased reviews. Isn't that what Mark Twain said?
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Adam Wyse
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RoosterJuice wrote:

I love it, it's amazing.


Can I pick what we watch tomorrow??
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Greg Darcy
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Hey Roxley,
Does kos work for you guys? If not, you should hire him. He's certainly generated a lot of interest for Santorini.
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Mind Bottling Games
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"the R/SM version is good enough for Americans, they are used to trash like this and don't know any better."

"Bias" according to Webster: "an inclination of temperament or outlook; especially a personal and sometimes unreasoned judgment : prejudice"

I literally lol'd.

shakeshake

This review must be a satire piece right??
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Russ Williams
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Shader10 wrote:
Lies, damn lies and unbiased reviews. Isn't that what Mark Twain said?

Or was it "Positive reviews, negative reviews, and bizarre ranting conspiracy theory reviews?"
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Eijnew
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7/11, would read again.
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Michael Van Biesbrouck
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GregDarcy wrote:
He rates your game a 3 He rates those others a 1. For some reason best known to the OP, He still wants to play Agricola despite rating it "You won't catch me dead playing this game...broken"


I noticed that Pandemic Legacy Season 1 was rated a 1 based on the general concepts of the game, even though the comments make it clear that kosterix has not played it. Based on this review, it seems that he got as far as contemplating the rules for placing pieces in a game without powers. I assume that's how Santorini got up to a 3.

Incidentally, with two workers there are 40 different first-player openings after allowing for rotations and reflections. Some expansion powers will increase this by removing symmetries or adding more workers.

Possibly the subject of the post should be 'Spin Master edition component review, unbiased'.
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Ryan Bohm
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This was incredibly funny.....or sad....I don't know yet.

Also, I actually have a friend who works at Spin Master....he's a good guy, well at least I thought he was a good guy....now I don't know anymore....
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kos blaat
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Bohmoplata wrote:
This was incredibly funny.....or sad....I don't know yet.

Also, I actually have a friend who works at Spin Master....he's a good guy, well at least I thought he was a good guy....now I don't know anymore....


Ooookay. Well, glad some found it entertaining. Also got banned from bgg, which confirms a lot of my suspicions. I'm afraid for unbiased information you should look elsewhere from now on.
 
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David E
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kosterix wrote:
Ooookay. Well, glad some found it entertaining. Also got banned from bgg, which confirms a lot of my suspicions. I'm afraid for unbiased information you should look elsewhere from now on.



How do you figure? If you got a temp-ban, it was probably for being insulting, not for posting a negative review.
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Olli Juhala
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AmadanNaBriona wrote:
kosterix wrote:
Ooookay. Well, glad some found it entertaining. Also got banned from bgg, which confirms a lot of my suspicions. I'm afraid for unbiased information you should look elsewhere from now on.



How do you figure? If you got a temp-ban, it was probably for being insulting, not for posting a negative review.


Clearly he is being silenced by Big Cardboard. It said so on BoardgameInfoWars.
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Paul Saxberg
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Wow, I wish we had the power to ban people from BGG! I could get revenge for some games I've lost recently...
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